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Volume 518: debated on Tuesday 9 November 2010

Early parliamentary elections will be held in Moldova on 28 November 2010. It is important that these elections are held to internationally accepted democratic standards. High standards of democracy, human rights and media freedom are essential for Moldova to continue to move closer to the mainstream of the European family of nations, and the UK is playing a full role in monitoring those elections.

I thank the Minister for that reply, which is encouraging about the processes. Does he agree that it is important that we help to consolidate the democratic processes in Moldova, and help to resolve the problem of Transnistria? Does he encourage British MPs to engage with our counterparts in the Moldovan Parliament towards those ends?

I certainly encourage colleagues on both sides of the House to engage in the way that the right hon. Gentleman, who is vice-chairman of the all-party group on Moldova, suggests. When I visited Moldova recently, I was struck by the courage and determination of the democratic politicians there. I think it is important for all parties in this House to demonstrate our support for Moldovan democracy.

Is it not one of the great successes of the last 20 years that countries from the former Soviet Union in the east of Europe, such as Moldova, have moved from the dead hand of communism towards democracy? If Moldova ends up with a coalition Government after its forthcoming election, will the British Government have any particular expertise to offer them?

It is always dangerous for one country to try to export exactly its own way of doing things to a different nation, but we will do whatever we can to address the continued impasse with Transnistria, and to entrench democracy and the rule of law in Moldova.